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Connectedness in Sibling and Friend Play during Early and Middle Childhood


Connectedness in Sibling and Friend Play during Early and Middle Childhood

Leach, Jamie A. (2018) Connectedness in Sibling and Friend Play during Early and Middle Childhood. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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The relationships that children form and maintain with other children are identified as crucial contexts for their social, cognitive, and emotional development (Carpendale & Lewis, 2015; Dunn, 2002; Howe, Ross, & Recchia, 2011; Piaget, 1962; Vygotsky, 1976). Through interactions with others, children construct an understanding of their social and cultural worlds (Piaget, 1962; Vygotsky, 1976). Children spend much of their time engaged in social play, which requires children to establish and maintain connectedness; meaning, they need to coordinate their ongoing social interactions and communicate and share ideas effectively to establish a shared understanding of the pretend scenario (Ensor & Hughes, 2008; Garvey, 1990; Howe et al., 2005). To this end, the three manuscripts examined children’s connectedness during play with a sibling and friend from early to middle childhood. The first manuscript investigated children’s connectedness in communication across relationship and time, the second manuscript examined features of connected sequences (e.g., emotional tone, length of sequence) based on the coding conducted in Study 1, and the third manuscript conducted a fine-grained analysis of children’s communication strategies that were used to initiate, sustain, and end connectedness. Data consisted of previously collected naturalistic observations of semi-structured play sessions (DeHart, 1999). Video and transcripts were used when coding the connectedness of children’s speech, the emotional tone and length of connected sequences, children’s interaction quality, and communication strategies. Results are discussed in light of previous theoretical and empirical research on children’s relationships and social interactions with a focus on the novel findings of each investigation. Overall, the findings provide new insights into children’s connectedness in child-child relationships and across development (i.e., from early to middle childhood). Specifically, Study 1 demonstrated that children made more failed attempts at establishing connectedness with their sibling than friend and sustained connectedness more often with their friend than sibling. In Study 2, the emotional tone of siblings’ and friends’ connected sequences were more likely to be positive than negative; however, siblings’ sequences were more likely to be short than long and friends’ sequences were more likely to be long than short. In Study 3, children engaged in more prosocial behavior and employed a play voice when initiating connectedness with their friend than sibling and more clarifications when sustaining connectedness with their sibling than friend. Implications for parents and professionals and future research recommendations are discussed in each study and the general discussion.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Leach, Jamie A.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:September 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Howe, Nina
ID Code:984756
Deposited By: Jamie Leach
Deposited On:10 Jun 2019 15:13
Last Modified:10 Jun 2019 15:13
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